Used Bass Buyer's Guide: What to Look For
Whether you’re just learning to play the bass or you’re a long-time veteran player, buying a new instrument is always fun. Of course, it can’t all be fun and games when you’re spending your hard-earned money on something you want to enjoy and get the most out of.
Buying a used bass might seem easy, but the fact is that it can be tricky business. There are simply a lot of things you need to consider before you take the plunge and plunk down your cash or credit card.
Keep reading to learn more about what to look for when you’re in the market for a used bass guitar, whether you’re looking for a fretless bass or a standard one.
Who’s Selling It?
Before you buy an instrument, take the time to figure out who is selling it. This can be very difficult if you’re buying online or from a site like eBay, but knowing your seller can really make a big difference.
You don’t want to waste money buying for a seller that has a bad reputation. Even if the instrument seems perfect you should move on and find another option.
Things that seem too good to be true usually are.
Who Owned It?
If you’re buying from a store, try to spend some time figuring out who owned the instrument before you. You may not be able to get this information, but knowing whether it was used only in the studio or taken out on the road for months at a time does matter.
Any service records --- like set-ups at a shop – also help. This is especially important if you’re buying a very expensive used bass that ranges in the thousands of dollars. Care information is also essential for vintage and classic instruments.
Can You Tune It?
When you pick up a used bass, what’s the first thing you’re going to do? The answer should be to connect it to a digital tuner and see if it can get close to accurate.
A used bass might need a professional set-up, but it should be pretty close when you try to tune it. Make sure you go up and down the neck and check for accuracy. If the bass notes jump around all over the place and it won’t tune well, consider moving on to another instrument.